It’s Not All About The Trainers…

…sometimes it’s all about the bike.


On Friday I went over the border to Wales for a long ride in the wilds of Afan and Glyncorrwg Forests. (I can’t believe they charge £6.20 to get in to Wales now. There’s an incentive to keep the swimming up, next time I’ll front crawl the estuary rather than take the bridge!)

We rode the W2 trail, which is actually an amalgamation of two routes (Y Wal & Whyte’s Level) to create 44km of challenging trail stretching from one forest to the other. The route is basically a LOT of technical climbing, a blast along some forest fire road, a white knuckle descent to the trail centre, eat cake, repeat. It’s got everything you’d expect from a decent trail centre ride with well maintained but not sterile trails and lots of fun.

I’m never going to be as fast as my friends on a bike. Going up there’s considerably more of me to shift and coming down I have a far higher developed sense of self-preservation. Some of my mates ride like they have nothing left to live for, nutters. For me riding is more about the challenge of crossing the ground, keeping the bike moving and pitting myself against my own preconceptions of what is possible to ride over/through/up.

I don't know what the words say but the message is pretty clear.

I don’t know what the words say but the message is pretty clear.

Now I’m officially in marathon training mode (and I realise I haven’t said much about that but I wanted to get a few miles under my belt before blogging about the road to Bournemouth) these impromptu excursions may be impossible. There’s no doubt I still had Welsh riding miles in my legs on my long run on Sunday, probably not helped by my foolish insistence on running Parkrun on Saturday morning as well! With a clear goal, a well laid training plan and a few niggly little injury worries it’s going to take the discipline of a monk to resist social rides and the lure of Parkrun but that is what has to happen if I’m going to run 26.2 miles in 9 weeks time.

Saying that, I have no problem justifying going out on Friday as a timely reminder that I can work hard for 4 hours, putting in the effort, managing my hydration and fuel and keeping my head in the game (much more than is needed on a long run, where rocks and trees aren’t trying to kill you!). I may need to have another look in to the benefits of cross training and see if I can build a regular ride in to my training plan!

Do you do any cross training? What about making allowances for fun when you should be focused on running? Advice gratefully received!


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2 Responses to It’s Not All About The Trainers…

  1. I think you could easily replace a run with a bike ride, especially if you’re putting in a bit of effort. My old running coach said to me that as long as you maintain a somewhat equal heart-rate as you would during a run, the time spent exercising counts for the same. I.e. 60-min run would be the same effort on the bike if you can manage to bring your heart-rate up, which, by the sounds of those hills, you will be doing! Happy x-training. 🙂

    • James Clay says:

      Not sure I’d get away with it in the latter stages of marathon training but certainly as a reminder of what it’s like to work for 4 hours it served a purpose. Our usual mountain biking route is a one hour blast which acts like a natural interval session, I might throw a few of those in as well just to stay in touch with the feel of being on two wheels!

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